Books · Character

How a Rabbi Helps Me Sleep at Night

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I did some listening and reading and thinking over the past week, absorbing in shock one crazy story after another. So much to digest and process. So much that is confusing and horrifying.

It would be easy to draw a circle around myself and plunk my head down deep in the sandy middle.

My friend recently shared a post by Anne Lamott.  She writes, “Life has always been this scary here, and we have always been as vulnerable as kittens. Plagues and Visigoths, snakes and schizophrenia; Cain is still killing Abel and nature means that everyone dies. I hate this. It’s too horrible for words. When my son was seven and found out that he and I would not die at the exact same second, he said, crying, “If I had known this, I wouldn’t have agreed to be born.” Don’t you feel like that sometime?”

This world has been off its rocker since the garden.

As I read and listen and process, I keep circling back around to two basic truths that have only ripened in beauty and wisdom as I age:

  1. God is still sovereign and seated on the throne.
  2. Loving your neighbor as yourself is still the greatest command.

What if I drew a circle around myself, head up and clear eyed, to honestly deal with the pockets of un-love in my own heart that bear the fruit of unloving actions, no matter the size? What if I asked myself on a daily basis, “How can I actively show love to my neighbor, even to those that hate me?”

“How” questions sometimes get answered best by a good story.

Mom and I listened to a short story on the Snap Judgement podcast while traveling this weekend.  We were amazed and inspired by the actions of one Nebraska rabbi and his wife. If you need a nudge toward loving your neighbor, to those that have threatened, slandered or hate you, OR to those you have done the same, this story might help you with the “how”.

Two other resources I’ve devoured this month might also help:
-Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson should be required reading for all. This book has completely opened my eyes to the widespread injustice within our country’s judicial system.
-Todd Wagner of Watermark Church gives a quick interview addressing what is the biblical response to #blacklivesmatter. Great explanation and he gives action points for us all.

Like it or not, societal change starts with the human staring us in the mirror, one loving action at a time.

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